Tuesday, August 27, 2019


It was interesting to watch Brigg Town Cricket Club employing two slow bowlers, Paul Neal and Jack Richards, during a recent home game at the Recreation Ground.
Seam bowlers of greater pace have dominated club cricket for decades. But although the slow men tend to concede more runs per over across the season, they have a handy knack of breaking partnerships,  getting among the wickets and earning their side some valuable bowling bonus points under the current scoring system.
Bowling effectiveness is sometimes defined by strike rate - the average number of deliveries/overs bowled to take each wicket.
Among the spectators at Brigg Town's game when Paul and Jack were bowling together was the club's legendary former all-rounder 'Gig' Smith (pictured above) who retired in 2000.
He was a very effective line-and-length medium-pace seamer who often bowled all Brigg's overs from one end - 20 or 23 depending on the length of the particular Lincolnshire League fixture.
But to add variety 'Gig' used to send down his renowned 'tweaker' - a slower off-spinner.
As he went back to his mark, he would instruct the fielder at mid-on to go back a few yards ahead of the change-of-mode delivery.
This was surely a hint to any batsman paying attention but it was amazing home many times this delivery brought Brigg a wicket - often Caught N. Fisher (at mid-on) Bowled G.S. Smith - as batsmen's eyes lit up at the sight of something they thought they could, at last, score from after being tied down.
He dismissed the same opponents in the same way time after time.
When 'Gig' reached the fourth or fifth ball of an over, his colleagues knew to expect the slower ball.
He decided to retire from club cricket aged 60 while still taking lots of wickets and among the best bowlers in Brigg's division.
He also played for Elsham, Brigg Sugar and (briefly) East Halton.
'Gig's batting contributions dropped off with advancing years but for most of his lengthy career he was a genuine all-rounder who would open the batting if required.
The slog-sweep shot now so often seen in televised one-day cricket matches was being played by 'Gig' donkey's years ago to boost Brigg's run tally.
He also played football with Brigg Amateurs, for whom he became a prolific goalscorer, was a notable table tennis performer, played darts to Super League and County standard and took up golf. A genuine sporting all-rounder!
PICTURED BELOW: 'Gig' Smith's last match for Brigg Town - away to Hartsholme in Lincoln - before he retired. Back row, left to right: Gary M. Smith, Lee Fielden, Mick Wescott, Jack Richards (still playing for Town), Alan Ford (of Brians DIY) and Paddy Kenny. Front row: Phil Dewfall (still with Brigg), Col Mumby (playing club cricket this season with Broughton 2nds), 'Gig' Smith, Ross Richards and Peter Mumby. Picture taken by 'yours truly' who went along specially to watch our clubmate's final performance.



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